Leaving Little Brother

Leaving <b>Little Brother</b>
From the mid-2000's, North Carolina's Little Brother (Phonte and Big Pooh with former producer 9th Wonder) caught cult status with layman lyrics and laidback beats. But after ten years together, Little Brother are releasing a final album, LeftBack. Both rappers agree they've grown apart creatively, especially after working on solo projects ― Pooh debuted Sleepers in 2005 and has diligently dropped mixtapes, while Phonte co-fronts Grammy-nominated group the Foreign Exchange with producer Nicolay. They're also planning solo records; Pooh this fall, and Phonte in 2011.

LeftBack is a contractually obligated record, originally intended to be a remix compilation of GetBack leftovers ― hence the title. But once the two decided to part ways, they had to say goodbye to fans, described by Phonte as college kids that were diehards from the start, but who now "have jobs, kids and need music they can relate to."

There are high expectations for LeftBack ― both critical and fan-generated ― and objections to the split, but Pooh maintains it was necessary to stop. "You don't want the results of a forced product. It's not going to be that magic you've grown accustomed to or that sound you love." Phonte says they've said what they wanted and made their mark. And their legacy? "We're just two guys that put ourselves into music and opened the door for young cats to come up and say 'I ain't gotta be the pimp or drug dealer, or play a role. I can just be me and win.'"